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Thursday, September 20, 2018
Mike Konczal

Marco Rubio’s Radical Alignment With The Financial Industry

The establishment “lane” has gone to Marco Rubio. That lane has become far more radical, and far more in sync with financial wealth, than anyone should have expected a year ago.

February 22, 2016

Paul Ryan And The Voluntarism Fantasy

When I wrote a long piece about the Voluntarism Fantasy at Democracy Journal, several people accused me of attacking a strawman. My argument was that there’s an influential, yet never clearly articulated, position on the conservative right that we jettison much of the federal government’s role in providing for economic security. In response, private charities, churches and […]

April 29, 2014

What Are Conservative Experts Saying About Breaking Through The Debt Ceiling?

There was a fantastic piece in The Atlantic back in 2000 about psychiatrists dealing with people who wanted to have their limbs cut off because it would make them feel more like themselves to be amputees. The doctors’ big dilemma was whether or not to treat “apotemnophilia” as a diagnosable mental illness. If they engaged with it as […]

October 8, 2013

Is There Really A ‘Conservative Reform’ Movement In Policy?

A few years ago, Freddie DeBoer argued that the terms “left” and “liberal” in the political blogosphere were really more descriptive of argument style and political strategy rather than any actual ideological differences. I think there’s a similar issue at play in the wave of articles about conservatives seeking to reform the movement. As 2013 rolls on, […]

May 24, 2013

Austerity Debunked? Math Is Dead Wrong In Major Study Cited By Deficit Hawks

In 2010, economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff released a seminal paper titled “Growth in a Time of Debt,” which had a significant impact on policy in Washington and elsewhere. Their paper’s most important finding was that “median growth rates for countries with public debt over 90 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) are roughly one […]

April 16, 2013

Another Reason To Kill The Debt Ceiling: Conservative Think Tanks’ Responses To Default

House Republicans are looking to weaponize the debt ceiling again, while the Obama administration is trying to make removing the threat of default part of any agreement. Here’s one reason why the debt ceiling needs to go: the conservative intellectual infrastructure cheered on a potential default. I had imagined that there would be a good cop/bad […]

December 6, 2012

How To Strengthen Financial Reform In The Next Four Years

As part of our series “A Rooseveltian Second-Term Agenda,” an outline of what needs to be done to build upon and safeguard Dodd-Frank. One of the Obama administration’s biggest vulnerabilities when it comes to its first-term policy legacy was that the roots of the legislation it ushered through wouldn’t take hold until around 2014. Thus […]

November 16, 2012

Worried About ‘Too Big To Fail’ Banks? Ignore Romney’s Attacks In The Debate

The big question is not whether to dismantle Dodd-Frank, but whether it gets implemented correctly. Wednesday’s presidential debate had a relatively detailed discussion of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. From a transcript, this is how President Obama described what the bill does: We said you’ve got — banks, you’ve got to raise your capital requirements. You […]

October 7, 2012

Four Histories Of The Right’s 47 Percent Theory

As you’ve likely heard, Mitt Romney was recorded at a fundraiser saying “there are 47 percent who are with [President Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to […]

September 23, 2012

How Republicans Would Gut Regulations That Guard Against Another Meltdown

Republicans might not repeal Dodd-Frank outright, but they’d eliminate the system of rules that make it work. It was just announced that Tim Pawlenty will become the head of the bank lobbying group Financial Services Roundtable. The powerful financial lobbying group, which represents groups like JP Morgan and Bank of America among other big financial sector […]

September 21, 2012

Should We Stop Referring To Student Loans As ‘Financial Aid’?

Students who take out loans aren’t receiving special favors. They’re making financial transactions like any other. Do we make both a conceptual and analytical mistake when we refer to student loans as a form of “financial aid”? Should that term be something to be resisted? Demos’ Tamara Draut brought up this point in a conversation […]

September 16, 2012

The Chicago Teachers Union Strike Viewed From The Local Level

As of 10 p.m. Sunday night, the Chicago Teachers Union has gone on strike. Here is a webpage for why they are striking, complete with the one-page explanation and the 46-page one. Here’s PCCC’s summary. Here’s a local teacher explaining why he is on strike. As Bill Barclay at Dissent Magazine noted, there was a […]

September 12, 2012

Romney Will Solve The Crisis With The Exact Same GOP Plan Of 2008, 2006, 2004..

Romney’s five-point plan to adress the specific aspects of our current jobs crisis recycles, nearly word for word, plans from far different economic times. I’ve been watching the 2012 Republican National Convention, trying to get a sense of what the conservative diagnosis is for our weak economy and what they’d do in response. Is it […]

September 3, 2012

Why Romney’s Tax Plan Is Mathematically Impossible

Last week’s big news in campaign policy was the Tax Policy Center’s white paper by Samuel Brown, William G. Gale, and Adam Looney, arguing that it is mathematically impossible for the Romney tax plan to meet its described goals. Ezra Klein has write-ups here and here, and James Pethokoukis has a contrary analysis here. Since […]

August 7, 2012

Public Sector Layoffs And Obama’s Fight Against Red States

The government job losses that are holding the recovery back are directly related to the Republican state legislators who were swept to power in 2010. Last Friday, both presidential candidates had a back-and-forth over the issue of public sector jobs. President Obama said that the private sector is doing fine but the public sector needs […]

June 13, 2012

The Insane Idea Hidden In The Debate Over Obama’s Spending

Instead of debating whether Obama is responsible for a spending surge, we should ask why anyone expects the ratio of spending to GDP to remain constant in a recession. There’s a recent debate about whether or not a federal government spending boom has happened on President Obama’s watch. This was kicked off two days ago […]

May 25, 2012

Why A Strong Middle-Class Is Necessary For Growth

It’s great to get to watch the arguments against inequality in the United States being built in real time. In spaces ranging from political corruption to a lack of a serious, sustained response to the economic crisis, people are telling sharper and more critical stories about why inequality should be a concern for the country. […]

May 18, 2012

What Five Hours From Last Thursday Can Tell Us About Dodd-Frank And JP Morgan

In the course of an afternoon, we saw the problems Dodd-Frank is trying to solve, the solutions on the table, and the efforts to roll them back — not in that order. Let’s take a quick look at a time frame lasting less than five hours from last Thursday, May 10th, 2012. At 12:10 p.m., […]

May 14, 2012

Job Numbers Friday: Looking to the Secondary Measures

Today featured a lackluster set of Friday job numbers. Payroll employment was up 115,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate went down to 8.1% from 8.2%. Government jobs were down 15,000, including 5,200 state and local education workers. There’s three ways of parsing the jobs numbers. One way is to focus on the jobs […]

May 4, 2012

Stop Nagging Buffett: Higher Taxes Should Be Law, Not Charity

Adam Ozimek jumps in on the should Warren Buffett just donate money to the government conversation here, with “Should people who want higher taxes donate to the government?” He builds off of Matt Zwolinski arguing that “After all, if Buffett really believes that he ought to be paying more taxes, then what’s stopping him?” Will […]

April 25, 2012

What Should You Know About The Quebec Student Strikes?

One thing to remember about Occupy is that it has much of its current origins, successes and most intense interactions with authority around the spaces of college campuses. Activism here is particularly innovative when it comes to direct actions, occupations and student strikes, all to combat college tuition increases, privatization and the creation of student […]

April 17, 2012

Deficit Hawks Should Curb Their Enthusiasm About Jobs

With our best job reports looking like Clinton’s worst, now isn’t the time to pivot to deficit reduction. Steven Pearlstein is concerned there’s too much emphasis on getting unemployment down and not enough on pivoting to deficit reduction in the states. Krugman has a good response; I want to focus on two specific parts of […]

March 7, 2012

Welcome To The 1 Percent Recovery

As the 1% reap 93 percent of the income gains from the recovery, we’re rapidly returning to pre-New Deal levels of inequality. There was a brief debate focused on the following question: would the gains of the economy continue to accrue to the top 1% once the recovery started, or would they have a weak […]

March 5, 2012

Mike Konczal: An Interview With Occupy The SEC

February 13 was an important deadline for comment letters relating to the implementation of the Volcker Rule. One group that submitted a comment letter was Occupy the SEC, an Occupy Wall Street-affiliated working group that has an excellent web presence outlining their objectives. The site also includes their comment letter (available as a pdf here) […]

February 16, 2012

A Bad Economy Hurts Those With Jobs, Too

New JOLTS data show that people are quitting their jobs less and less and getting hired at a similarly slow rate. Last week’s job numbers were generally positive. Now if those numbers pick up steam, if the housing market begins to recover, if Europe doesn’t sink the U.S. economy, if the situation in the Middle […]

February 7, 2012